Not Non-Discerning

Not Non-Discerning

Sermon Notes

Matthew’s Themes:

  • Jesus is the king
  • We are part of Jesus’ new kingdom
  • Jesus teaches us how to live in this kingdom

Matthew is writing for people who are

  • Geographically removed from Jesus
  • Chronologically removed from Jesus
  • Interested in the life of Jesus

Key Point: Jesus was against a judgmental and hypocritical spirit. But Jesus was not against a discerning spirit. Here’s how he teaches us to balance these two: non-judgmental does not mean non-discerning.

  1. Maintain a healthy dependence on the FatherMatthew 7:7-8
    The order of these statements and their increased intensity indicates how we
    cooperate with the Father, the giver of good gifts.
    Ask – a general verb used often in prayer
    Seek – once we say amen, we should remain sensitive and open to God’s movement in the real world
    Knock – this is the moment we take action

    As you pray and live keep asking these questions:
    What is your petition? What is the thing you are asking from God?
    Where are you looking for God’s response? Where in the real world are you seeking God’s activity?
    What opportunities are in front of you? How is God working in your world right now?
  2. We can bring our request to God because He is good FatherMatthew 7:9-11
    Jesus is using an “If/Then” statement called a fortiori argument.
    What is a a fortiori argument? Arguing from an accepted conclusion to an even more evident one.
    If – It is true that I cannot lift up the front end of my car…
    Then – how much more so is it true that my daughter cannot lift up the front end of my car?
  3. So with this assurance of an answered prayer in hand we can treat people fairly and with respect – Matthew 7:12
    When we expect other people to give us what only our Heavenly Father can, we cheapen that human relationship by treating this other person as a consumer commodity.
    This could explain why some of you are angry. Because you are attempting to extract from people what only God can give.
    This approach to seeking exposes two big myths:
    God is not able to give me what I need.
    I can extract from people all that I need.

Application
Part 1 – Walk through the Matthew 7:7-8. Write down your answer to the following questions:
What is your petition? What is the thing you are asking from God?
Where are you looking for God’s response? Where in the real world are you seeking God’s activity?
What opportunities are in front of you? How is God working in your world right now?

Part 2 – Identify people that you tend to treat worse then you want to be treated? Are you trying to extract from them things that only your heavenly Father can give?

Discussion Questions

TALK IT OUT

  1. In verse 7, Pastor Rusty makes the point that when Jesus instructs us to
    “ask” “seek” and “knock” each of these becomes increasingly more
    intense. Our prayer can be a way we cooperate with what God is doing in
    the world. Have you ever observed your prayers being used by God to
    accomplish his greater plan?
  2. Sometimes after we pray we forget to be alert for God’s answer. Are you
    usually spiritually alert to see how God is answering your prayers?
  3. In verses 9-11, Jesus made a statement in which he used an accepted
    truth to make a greater point. He says if we as parents are willing to give
    our children what they need, it is even more certain that our Heavenly
    Father, will give what is best to us as his children. How might
    understanding this spiritual reality change the way we pray?
  4. How can we combat the false idea that God is a bit like a vending
    machine; we pray and out pops the answer we want? Based upon the
    previous point, why might we not even want God to always answer our
    prayers exactly the way we think he should?
  5. Pastor Rusty suggests that we sometimes try to get from others what only
    God can give. When we make that mistake what impact do you think it has
    on our relationship with other people? How does it affect our relationship
    with God?

LIVE IT OUT

  • Make a list of at least 5 things you should be asking God for right now.
  • Do you rely on God to meet your needs, or do you habitually think you and others can meet needs that can only be met by God?
  • Take a moment to ask God to help you learn to approach him as your heavenly Father, the one who passionately cares about you and your needs.
  • Ask God to help you become more spiritually alert to see and appreciate the unexpected ways he answers your prayers.